Flash Report: Wednesday Scrimmage

Wisconsin had its first scrimmage of 2002 fall camp at the O'Connor Center in Madison Wednesday afternoon. Here is what Coach Barry Alvarez had to say, verbatim.

Q: How did the scrimmage go?

Alvarez: We went at it a long time. We had a good three-hour practice, quite a bit of it live. I am really pleased with what I saw. It was a very physical practice. We got a lot of kicking live on film. I was pleased again with our kickers. They've been consistent throughout camp. Again they were consistent when we were live today. I thought we made a lot of progress in the kicking game. We spent time on the goal line, spent time in short-yardage. We went good against good. Again it was very physical. I felt our defense flew around and did some good things. Overall I was pleased with the offense. I thought we really accomplished a lot today. We are able to sit down...right now we are going through the kicking with the kids. We have a chance to go through the whole film after that and correct a lot of things. I thought a lot of guys stepped up. Everybody had a chance to scrimmage.

I was really pleased with the two freshmen running backs (Booker Stanley and Dwayne Smith). I thought it was very unusual. We've been around here a long time, and I can't remember a freshman finishing runs and being as physical as Dwayne and Booker. We threw them right in the mix on short-yardage and goal line, and I tell you, they were impressive.

So all in all, I thought we accomplished a lot. The guys stayed into it. They concentrated over a long period of time and I just felt it was a very scrimmage. We'll give them a little time right now to recharge their batteries. We won't practice again today, and we'll be right back at it again tomorrow morning. It was a good day.

Q: Do you have any answers yet on your kickers?

Alvarez: You guys are more worried about it than I am. I just feel good about where it is right now. If they continue to kick like they have right now, if they can carry that over to games, then we won't have a problem. Whoever I kick will kick it well, because that's what we've been getting. I'm in no big hurry. If somebody separates himself or if somebody drops off, then we'll make the decision. But I'm in no hurry to do that. I like the fact that there's heat on, guys have to compete and guys have to perform. The one that's most consistent will be the guy that kicks for us.

Q: Have the freshmen tailbacks been able to grasp the mental aspects of the system at a comfortable pace for you?

Alvarez: I just said they scrimmaged (well). They scrimmaged as good as they can scrimmage. You don't scrimmage unless you know what you're doing. It doesn't get real complicated to get the ball and stick it in there.

Q: How did some of your younger defensive players, and Alex Lewis, look in the scrimmage?

Alvarez: (Lewis) is a good football player. He's fun to watch play in the kicking game. I noticed him. He's around the football. He's very physical. I liked what I saw. You'll see him on the field. I'm trying to think what other young players...I saw (Mark) Zalewski showed up. Without going through the film, I can't really answer on the drop (linebackers). I didn't notice them as much, but that doesn't mean they didn't do well. I just didn't notice them.

Q: How much has Broderick Williams improved?

Alvarez: I think Broderick has made a jump. He knows he has somebody breathing down his neck, and Alex is a good player. They are lined up at the same position. I think he's picked up his game. He's much improved. He's more physical right now than he was in the spring, and understands the system a little better.

Q: How did the receivers do?

Alvarez: I thought we threw and caught it pretty well today. We had a couple of guys that didn't scrimmage, but we did some pretty good things. I don't want to single anyone out. I don't think anyone really jumped out at us. But we threw and caught it okay.

Q: How much can you learn about a team from a scrimmage situation as opposed to a standard practice?

Alvarez: You learn a little more from a scrimmage than you can from a day-to-day practice. Because it's live and you can see who can bring somebody down. You can see who can run through a tackle, and who is willing to really turn it loose. Who's ready to mentally step in and not be intimidated, not be fazed, and just fit right in. This probably is the most telling day that we've had thus far. Now we'll go through and tear that film down and use it as corrections. But I just thought overall, the guys gave us good effort, they really concentrated and we really accomplished a lot.

Q: Have you had to hold Lee Evans back in practice at all? Or is he pushing to do more?

Alvarez: Well we haven't had him in team (drills). And I will be honest with you. I know he's going through (individual) drills, and I don't see him because he doesn't even go in one-on-ones. We don't have him doing anything where he has a chance to get tangled up. I know (trainer) Denny (Helwig) has worked him very hard in the mornings, and when we go to team, John Dettmann works him even harder. But he knows...I haven't had to say anything to him because he knows he's not going to do anything where he's going to have to compete against someone else or he has a chance to get tangled up.

Q: How are your fullbacks doing?

Alvarez: I think Russ (Kuhns) has been steady. (Matt) Bernstein gives us probably a different type of fullback than we've ever had. He's very physical, and a good runner. He catches the ball out of the backfield pretty well. And we'll play both of those guys. I like how both are progressing.

Q: Are there any guys that jumped out at you in a live ball situation that you hadn't really noticed much in the past?

Alvarez: I thought those two running backs were impressive, I thought Bernstein did some good things, I thought Alex Lewis showed up. I think our two five-techniques, Jake (Sprague) and (Erasmus James) can put a lot of heat on you. They got penetration, did some good things in short-yardage. They are a load for a tight end to handle.

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